Bill Cowher Press Conference Transcript

<b>Bill Cowher</b> <br> <b>BC: </b>To give you an update, we made a roster move this morning. We put Marvel Smith on Reserved/Injured and we added B.J. Tucker to the active roster. We will probably add another lineman to the practice squad before tomorrow.

We have one player that is questionable for the game on Sunday night and that is Brent Alexander with a hand. Four players are probable: Jerome Bettis with a knee, Hines Ward with an abdominal strain, Amos Zereoue with a quad contusion, and Chukky Okobi with a back. We are somewhat healthy and are looking forward to Sunday night's game.

Q: Is his hand broken?

BC: Yes.

Q: Is it a finger?

BC: Yes.

Q: Which one?

BC: You will see it, it is the one that is wrapped. (Probably the middle one)

Q: What is B.J. Tucker like?

BC: We just had him for a couple weeks on the practice squad. I know New Orleans called and they wanted to try to sign him for the last game and he really would have liked to stay here. We liked what we saw. I think he is a good prospect to at least be able to take into camp next year.

Q: Is Marvel Smith on Reserved/Injured because he wasn't going to play this week?

BC: He is not going to play this week. (No, really?) Really, at this point, he needs a good six or seven weeks to rest. All the tests have been positive. I have kept him out because he has been able to work without the contact, practice wise to keep his skills honed. He needs good rest. All the tests on Marvel have been real positive. There is nothing long term that we should be concerned about at this time. It is a nerve that just needs to be rested.

Q: Are you rooting for Cincinnati so your game has a little more meaning?

BC: Not really. We are getting ready to play Baltimore. It is our last game. It is a nationally televised game, the last game of the regular season, and we are looking forward to that.

Q: What is it like playing the spoiler role?

BC: We are not playing this game for anybody else. We are playing this game for us. There is a lot of pride at stake. I think the situation has unfolded this season with us having won this division the last two years and this year that is not going to be the case. It is a divisional game and probably the team that we rival the most. I think all those factors coupled with the atmosphere that will take place with them having to win the game to go into the playoffs potentially, and I think everything at stake. These are two teams that have a genuine respect for one another, but probably a genuine dislike for one another. It is the last game of the season for us and we are looking forward to it.

Q: What will it be like sending them home (even though the game is in Baltimore)?

BC: We will see what happens. A lot of that stuff will be determined by Sunday night. This is our last nationally televised game of the season for this year so we want to put on a good performance.

Q: Have there been tangible improvements on your offensive line that has helped the running game?

BC: Tangible improvements? Yes, I think there is no question that they have gotten better. I think Oliver Ross and Kendall Simmons particularly on the right side, just working together, I think they have played very solid. Keydrick Vincent has gotten better in his time at guard. I think that group as a whole has gotten better. This will be a good test this week. This is a good defense. They play a 3-4 defense with Kelly Gregg on the nose. They are very, very disciplined. You know about their linebackers, but (Anthony) Weaver, and (Marques) Douglas are two ends that it is going to be like playing against our defense. It is a 3-4 front, (Ray) Lewis and (Ed) Hartwell flow to the ball well. (Peter) Boulware and (Cornell) Brown are two solid outside guys, a good secondary. This will be a good test for us.

Q: Does it help at all to play against another 3-4 team since your offensive linemen see it all the time?

BC: I don't know at this point, because most of the reps that the offense gets during the course of the week are relative to what we are going to play that week. So, they are mostly getting reps against a 4-3 team if we are playing a 4-3 team. Some of the scout team things that they are showing for us, a lot of times those plays are carded plays and they are not really our plays. I think at this point, we had enough work from training camp to understand some of the roles that take place from a protection standpoint, and even some of the plays that you want to run. We know them well. I know it has been about three months since we played them last, but it is still going to come down to execution. But we understand that defense pretty well.

Q: Their offensive line may be better than in the Super Bowl Year. Has Orlando Brown made that much of a difference?

BC: They have played very solid. They play together. They stayed healthy. There is 700 pounds between those two tackles. They are big, they are huge and they do a great job of picking up and scheme blocking when they need to scheme block. They have a very special back in Jamal Lewis. He is premiere. You see the fast guys and you see the big guys. He is a big, fast guy. He has great feet in the hole, even when you have guys unblocked, you are going to look up and it can be a five or six yard gain. Those are the things that we have to be patient with because he is one of those guys that you stop him, you stop, and you stop him, and then all of a sudden he breaks one and you miss a tackle, it is a 65 or 70 yard gain. It is like last week. I think that is what separates him from a lot of people, his ability to pound, pound, pound and then boom all of a sudden if you do expose yourself, he has the speed to take it all the way.

Q: (For the 100th time because I just have to ask a question to get my mug on TV) Are you looking for a strong finish to carry over into next year?

BC: It has been a motivating factor. Right now, we are not talking about next year. Next year will be here when it comes and there will be a whole different set of people and everything. Who knows when the offseason comes. It is important to finish strong. It is important for us at this point for two reasons. Number one, we are playing Baltimore. There is not a whole lot that needs to be said more than that. Number two, it would be nice if we could win two games in a row at some point this season. This will be our last opportunity to do that.

Q: Will Chris Hope play if Brent Alexander can't play?

BC: Correct.

Q: Christmas falls in line with your two biggest days of practice, how are you altering your plans?

BC: We are going to give them Christmas off and that was part of a conditional deal based on last week's game. We will work Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and we have the game Sunday Night.

Q: Are the coaches off, too?

BC: Yes.

Q: Why has Anthony Wright fit in so well in Baltimore?

BC: He is a guy that has a good arm. He has very good mobility. His decision-making has been good and he has been very efficient. We knew even having him here that he has good mobility, he has good speed, and he has very good arm strength. I don't think that they are asking him to win games. They are asking him to fit within that offense and he has done a very good job of running that offense. He has made good decisions, making plays when he has to make plays on third down whether it be with his arm or with his feet. You can see his mobility in the pocket. He has played very well for them.

Q: Did you think he had a decent future even though you let him go?

BC: Yes. (That's why we did it) A lot of times it is being in the right place at the right time. I know he was down in Dallas for a number of years and he has been in Baltimore for a number of years and all of the sudden he has had his chance to play and I think it is a good fit for him where he is. He has been there and he understands that offense. I know he was there last year when Jeff Blake was there and all of the sudden Kyle Boller comes in as their number-one pick and he gets hurt, and I think Anthony does gives you more mobility than Chris Redman gives you. He has played well, he has seized the opportunity. It is hard to say what happens when players get the opportunity and sometimes, it just takes experience and being at the right place at he right time.

Q: Is that similar to Deshea Townsend in practice?

BC: I was thinking about him while I was talking. He is a guy who has been with us and all of a sudden he is playing really well. When he has filled in before I think he has done a good job. I look at Deshea and to me I think it is a confidence thing. I see the way he carries himself on the field now as opposed to when he was a younger player. I remember one night down in Jacksonville and he had a tough day. I remember talking to him about it because he started, it was his second year or first year. He has kind of grown and matured, and in that process has gained a lot of confidence. He is playing very well right now.

Q: For a little guy he holds up pretty good against the run?

BC: Yes, we will get a good test this week.

Q: Jamal Lewis has had big games against a lot of teams, but I don' think he has ever had a 100-yard game against you guys?

BC: I don't know. That is probably because we have been able to get up. I think when you look at his yards per run they are probably pretty good. The best way to take Jamal Lewis out of the game is to get a lead where the option to run is not an option because of the clock. If they get a lead and he starts to pound he gets stronger as the game goes on. There probably has been some circumstances where that has probably been the case.

Q: Is Ed Reed developed into one of those players that you have to be aware of in the secondary along with special teams?

BC: Yes, he is. He is outstanding at rushing the punter. I think he has a number of blocked punts. I think it is nothing that they have done but just him beating a guy one-on-one. You have to be aware of where he is when we are punting the ball. He is a very special guy in terms of having a feel for rushing the punter and a having a feel for blocking punts. Even in the secondary he has great ball skills and he has made a lot of plays. That is why he is going to the Pro Bowl. He has been a very productive player for them.

Q: When you are a little guy like Deshea Townsend is it a matter of technique and does he have to avoid blockers and use his quickness when he is trying to stop the run?

BC: Find a way, just get it done. A lot of it is leverage. There are a lot of guys his size that are playing corner in the league. You still have to be able to support the run and you still have to be able to play and get on them before they get on you. That is not his forte, but he does it adequate enough.

Q: Has he been pretty good at it?

BC: He has been adequate enough.

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